The following is an Independent Spotlight exclusive interview with the ALTOSPIN artist Astraer.
First of all, let’s put a name to the Astraer project! Who is the primary musician behind it? Is anyone else involved with its creation?
I’m Joseph Papadopoulos and Astraer is my solo project. I made some collaboration tracks with friends. But, I essentially make tracks alone.
Your new EP is ‘Sunless Days.’ Tell us about the creative process behind the record. What inspired you to create it? What did you bring to the project from previous musical endeavors that translated into it?
I started the two tracks at the same time, so they have some similarities, but I tried to keep a contrast between them. For example, 'Sunless Days' is more linear than 'Moonless Nights.' I chose the names of these two tracks (according to my own feelings) in order to reflect that contrast. I listen to a lot of electronic music genres like techno, deep house, psytrance, and electronica, and I entered into the electronic music world as a DJ. So, I think that a lot of influences can be found in my music.
The EP is an instrumental effort that’s been described as “melodic techno” and “neo-trance.” What separates it from other independent electronic music? Is there a scene within the independent community that creates music like this?
This music is more focused on the melodies than other techno sub-genres. But, I think that there are no clear borders for this scene. Some tracks are close to techno music, others are close to house music and so on.
Talking about community, you live in Rennes, France. How does your local community foster your music? Do you perform live? Is there anything about the culture in Rennes that inspires your creativity?
I‘m part of a collective named 'Mood Krafterz' that organizes open air parties. There are a lot of associations and collectives that promote techno music in Rennes. I perform live and I was invited to perform at several parties in Rennes and western France.
You’re now signed to ALTOSPIN Records, a rising Canadian record label. What’s it like working with a label that isn’t in the same country as you? How has ALTOSPIN aided you with this new EP?
I've never signed to a French label, so I can’t compare it with a foreign label. But, things have been easy and nice with ALTOSPIN, and I really want to see what the label will become in the future.
Is ‘Sunless Days’ the start of something larger? Do you have anything planned next? What direction do you want to move in the industry?
I don’t know. I will continue to do techno tracks and other releases, and see what will come next!
‘Sunless Days’ has some beautiful tracks - it’s particularly accessible, more so than most electronic music. Was that intentional? Who do you want your audience to be?
I think when music (especially techno music) has melodies, it makes it more accessible. I do like techno tracks without melodies, but melodic techno is the genre in which I feel the most comfortable. I don’t mind who my audience is, as long as some people like the music I do and that I take pleasure in doing it.
As a composer of instrumental music, how do you keep each new track different from the last? How do you keep the album interesting and consistent for the listener?
I always try new things and new ways. I try to bring different ambiances to different tracks. But, I also try to link them - to develop a logic between my all tracks, and to have a coherent musical universe behind the Astraer project.
How has Astraer evolved since its inception? ‘Sunless Days’ is far from the first release - several EP’s predate it.
When you finish a track you always learn new things; you always have new skills. You must evolve in your creation process. It would be boring for you and your listeners otherwise.
Finally, on the Independent Spotlight we love to get an insight not only into each artist as a music producer, but as a consumer. If we were to take your iTunes or Spotify library and set it to shuffle, what five songs may play?
It would be: Stephan Bodzin, Wir | N'to, Petite | Ólafur Arnalds, Only The Winds | Nils Frahm, Says | Jon Hopkins - Breathe This Air
CONNECT WITH ASTRAER: http://www.altospin.com/a006/